Scottish e-bike tech firm chaired by former Dyson boss raises almost £2m

A company behind an innovative e-bike motor, that is chaired by a former Dyson chief executive, has secured almost £2 million in funding.

Neil MacMartin, founder and director, from FreeFlow Technologies and John McNicol, director, from Kelvin Capital.

The investment will support FreeFlow Technologies’ (FFT) move to a new headquarters and research and development facility in East Kilbride and allow it to take on additional staff.

The firm’s patented e-bike transmission system is said to be more lightweight, compact and provides a higher power density than other products.

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The motor and battery are easily assembled into the bicycle frame rather than an oversized attachment as is common with current electric bikes. This achieves a look that makes the e-bike look and ride like a regular bike.

The company has also developed a novel mechanical transmission system for fixed wheel bikes that allows the rider to freewheel, while retaining the smooth ride quality of fixed wheel.

Bosses said there were already several brands working on frame designs to incorporate the new FreeFlow tech into bikes for launch into the market next year.

The £1.85m funding round was led by investment syndicate Kelvin Capital and supported by Equity Gap, Foresight Williams and Scottish Enterprise. The company raised £1.8m in an earlier funding round in October 2018.

Founded in 2012 in Glasgow by e-bike innovator Neil MacMartin following 15 years in his family bike business, FFT has a senior management team made up of experts in design, development, financial planning and cycling industry experts.

The fast growing electric bike market was worth almost £5 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow to some £12bn in 2023 according to the Confederation of the European Bike Industry and The Light Electric Vehicle Association.

Martin McCourt, chairman of FreeFlow Technologies, and former chief executive of Dyson, said: “The e-bike market is booming as many sections of society seek alternatives to public transport and take a greater interest in their personal health – great trends that truly benefit our citizens and our environment.

“The FreeFlow drive system transforms the look and riding performance of e-bikes. Now an e-bike can look like a normal bike, and ride like one.”

David Hemming, managing director of FreeFlow Technologies, said: “Before Covid hit the world the e-bike sector was forecasted to grow by double digits each year for the foreseeable future, however the global pandemic has changed the way people think about bikes across all walks of life.

“The needs of exercise and wellbeing and the need for a viable transportation options to and from work that is an alternative to public transport are now high on the public’s mind.

“The Covid pandemic has also accelerated the cargo/last mile delivery sector as well with many companies looking to get deliveries from suppliers to end consumers with increased urgency and efficiency.

“This sector is also on a huge growth curve with e-bikes being seen as a significant part of that solution, particularly in urban areas of the world.”

John McNicol from Kelvin Capital added: “The events of 2020 have brought an unexpected rise in the number of people cycling and, in particularly e-bike sales, something that hasn’t been seen since the 2012 Olympics. Kelvin Capital is delighted to back FreeFlow Technologies with this investment round.”

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